PARADISE Is Burning

timebeauty

It’d been too damn hot, even for God who was on Sabbatical. The crimson beat of the Cinnabar and orange pirouette of the Monarch in the verdant dawn had been flattened, not by the heat, but by the thunder of rotary blades scattering the morning mist across the valley floor. The acrid smell of blackened firs hung heavy as the lords of the forest spiraled over the great cloud of smokey ash desperately searching for their lost aeries.

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There’d been mischief afoot aplenty as convoys of firefighters, aerial bombers, and rotary dragon flies with their loads of water raced to meet it. The emerald filled with smoke and despair as Haven Lake fell headlong into the  unyielding inferno. Newly formed, the Olympic mountains were cloaked in thick elegant rain forests couched among chimneys fashioned by ancient rock faces and narrow canyons. Parched, the landscape beckoned and the Devil heard her name. Satan had entered and found the Landlord absent. Paradise was, if not for sale, at least for rent.

Though records said otherwise, he knew his spiritual birthplace through dreams and visions long before fate allowed him to enter. He’d traveled these mountains, crossed its streams and valleys through the rain, sometimes the snow. He’d stood naked in the rain unafraid beneath the stars and the full moon, marveling at the darkness and the cool wetness on his skin. He had slept on the deep moss covered maple tree stretched over the adjacent river with his young son in his arms. He’d gathered wood to lay against the coming winter, gathered berries and fruit from abandoned apple trees, butchered roadkill to nourish his young. Though alarmingly indigent, this was the promised land, a poor man’s paradise he knew from ancient ancestral coding hardwired into the fiber of his being. He would never forsake it. Many came seeking, but few were chosen. He was among the lucky few. His sacred mountain respite came complete with a waterfall, island, and bittersweet memories where he’d been happy if only for awhile. Ferns provided hygiene. A ram pump laughed at utility bills. The pasture fed his goats who provided milk, yogurt, cheese, and kefir in turn. Once a month he ventured down into the outside world for supplies. He could afford no less, but no more. Yet happiness did not shield him from loneliness. He’d been warned not to partake of this particular self indulgence, yet could not rest while it did abide within him. As luck would have it, the Devil was in the details.

Came the day, one year in early summer, he met a beautiful serpentine lady. He’d read of the Sirens of old. He knew of the tree of good and evil. He’d been warned of the forbidden fruit. Yet he tarried. He admired her art, her craft, her body, her mouth, her face, her eyes…especially her eyes–and her voice when she began to speak. He might have escaped, but for her seizing the moment and her singing. “What did you say your name was again?” he queried. “Luci,” she twinkled, “but I like to go by Perfidia.” “Mine’s Amicus,” he rejoined, “you are astonishingly talented and beautiful.” “Do tell,” she sparkled. “What do you do with all this?” he gestured, pointing at all the wood and partially assembled boxes around her. “Oh, I’m a collector,” she hinted, “I commune with nature in collaboration with volunteers. Do you love nature?” “Oh, yes,” he confided, “though my own Heaven has no angels such as yourself.” “Really?” she mused, “I struggle so hard without a partner. People do not understand me, they fail to appreciate my situation. I’m very poor. For this I’ve been banned from the Garden.” She eyed him carefully, then went for the jugular–“You look like God,” she exclaimed, “just like He’s portrayed on the Sistine Chapel ceiling!” His heart fell out of his chest and fibrillated wildly on the floor. Besotted, he invited her to share Paradise. He’d pay the damage deposit, he offered.

Gabriel had accompanied God and taken her trumpet with her. Michael, the archangel, had left her post to get a pizza. Thus, the gates to Paradise were left open and undefended upon Perfidia’s arrival. She was still in her prime, but he was in the autumn of his years and knew it only too well. “You are a fantastic lover,” she told him the night of that first day while Michael was away. “Will you grown tired of me?” he fretted. “Not if you continue to be this good,” she assured him, “but would you mind not questioning me now while my underwear is about my ankles. It makes me feel terribly vulnerable.”

It was a smoldering romance too hot not to cool down. And as it died, Paradise began to burn. Perfidia had once complained of too little attention, of too little time spent, of wanting more–always more. Yet, even from the outset, she did not want to be seen in his company as knowing him, or at least knowing him too well. The Devil may wear Prada, but Perfidia preferred the invisibility cloak of discretion and collecting. The latter must have been time consuming as soon enough she was heard to say she abhorred the idea of him gobbling up every available moment, of investing too much time. And there was no such thing as constructive criticism, she said. A new soul was on her horizon with most of her attention focused there. “I give it about 6 months or less,” he thought, “people go back to what they know. If it ain’t broken, why fix it?” Indeed, Perfidia wasn’t about to fix a thing. She wasn’t about to hear any criticism either. She’d said, “When you feel like you’ve had enough, you’ll just walk away.” But in the end, it was she who walked away and always had, for she knew it. It was her nature.

“Never give a sucker an even break.” -P. T. Barnum-  The ancient Greeks were convinced that when the gods want to punish us, they grant our wishes. Upon Michael’s return, finding Paradise burning, she asked him, “What have you done?” “I partook of the forbidden fruit,” he sobbed. “Why? You were warned,” Michael persisted. “A serpent beguiled me. She beckoned me to eat, saying the fruit was good. I was lonely. God never gave me a woman who truly loved me for who I am,” he cried. “Fear not,” Michael glowered, “God is merciful. But, you know, nothing will ever be the same!” Somehow, he doubted the former, but not the latter.

When he calls, Perfidia is no longer home. Paradise yet burns, God is still on holiday, and the man told he resembled Him awaits his fate and eventual banishment from Eden. Being poor sucks. But then he knew that. So did Perfidia when she made it her opening move.

 

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Sylvia’s Works In Progress (WIP) Nixes Independent Reporter

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Rick’s Media Island bus to the Cascade Media Convergence

Olympia, WA (9-15-14) — The sewers of Oly’s r@dical underground are stinking up the neighborhood, adding to the stench in Oly’s municipal ordinances filth served up by its City council. Who would have suspected Works In Progress, an independent alternative, some say r@dical of late, newspaper barely surviving in the Olympia area which has been around since Jesse Jackson ran for President would attempt to discourage a reporter from attending a media oriented public event? Sylvia is said to have been editing it these past 24 years. Like all print media, it’s struggling and probably won’t survive, at least in its current format. Whether it can legitimately be called a news periodical that promotes reporting without fear nor favor is questionable given the following e-mail exchange, initiated apparently by Sylvia, sent to an independent investigatory photojournalist who does exactly that, letting the chips fall where they may and refusing to be seen as part of anyone’s camp:

Speaking of ‘bleeding’ for what one believes in, get a load of WIP’s Sylvia and her take on 1st Amendment principles at a media oriented public event, no less:

Amicus Curia From: Works In Progress <olywip@gmail.com>
To: Amicus Curia <pinbalwyz@yahoo.com>
Sent: Monday, September 15, 2014 9:57 PM
Subject: Cascadia Media Convergence

John, I am going to be very upfront with you. I think you are a very talented person and writer, but unfortunately you seem to have a great deal of difficulty dealing with people. I am sorry to inform you that we will not be able to provide you transportation down to Portland for the Cascadia Media Convergence this weekend. Also, I think you need to know that the folks in Portland are very concerned that if you attend the Convergence you will be disruptive and act inappropriately with other attendees. You have a pretty gnarly reputation, John. Sylvia

>>>Well, Sylvia, some of the folks you must be referencing have a pretty ‘gnarly reputation’ themselves–violent, criminal, threatening, and remorseless. Of the meetings I’ve attended, and many I’ve read about, the ONLY ones being disruptive were them. It’s pretty easy for nameless/anonymous accusations to be leveled, and accordingly difficult to defend against. It’s par for this particular course for the principals you seem to be defending to insist on 1st Amendment protections for themselves but not for others who are critical of their excesses. The reputation, I’m afraid, isn’t mine.

Amicus Curia: BTW, and how is it you (Sylvia) are able to grant/deny permission to ride on this particular bus, which I thought belonged to Rick Fellows? What is the hierarchy you’re claiming? Just WHO, specifically, objects to my presence? Names?–yeah, I thought not.

Not only are Sylvia’s chosen miscreants wildly enthusiastic about snitch hunts and outrageously erroneous labeling of whatever nemesis of the day they’ve targeted as sex offenders, but they’re their own worst enemies when it comes to disrupting the very meetings Sylvia vacuously inveighs.  Many examples of the same this reporter has never attended have been written up in this publication.

(e.g. http://amicuscuria.com/wordpress/?p=14585)

Fast forward to the magical mystery bus chosen to transport those with $25 for gas to Portland’s Cascadia Media Convergence hosted by the University of Oregon at 70 Couch St. this coming weekend, 9-19-14 through 9-21-14. The bus itself belongs to Rick Fellows, the director of the 501(c)3 non-profit known locally as Media Island across the street from Olympia’s downtown public library. The media convergence (CMC) is sponsored by the Wayne Morse Center for Law and Politics and the University of Oregon Turnbull Center. It’s billed as a series of workshops, facilitated strategy sessions, and public events aimed at bringing together alternative and community media makers to network, share knowledge and skills, and discuss ways to continue collaboration and build toward a regional media coalition happening September 19th-21st at the University of Oregon Turnbull Center in Portland, OR. Who made Sylvia God with the power to deny/censor an independent investigatory photojournalist from attending or traveling there, God only knows. Perhaps she (Sylvia) may yet inform readers.

The poison pen e-mail invites the question of whether those who genuinely believe in 1st Amendment principles should ride Rick’s big yellow bus under WIP’s auspices, thus rewarding enemies in all but name only of the very 1st Amendment principles they profess to be hawking. The hypocrisy is so thick as to be cut with a knife.

It would be comforting to believe this is an aberration rather than a pattern. That optimism would be sadly mistaken. WIP has consistently rejected well written submissions for its hard copy publication. Now it appears to be discouraging an independent investigatory photojournalist from attending based on the thinnest of pretexts on behalf of @narchists predictably given to violent disruption of public events on college campuses and fond of jacketing anyone who opposes them or even publishes their pictures while accurately reporting on their actions. Folk wisdom holds birds of a feather flock together. That they don’t wish to be SEEN, at least in print, publicly together is telling. Folk lore also holds the wicked flee when none pursue. Sylvia’s biases are transparent in this instance. The Devil’s in the details as with any Faustian bargain. God willing, THIS reporter will be there, whether Sylvia and her allies like it or not! Coverage will be made available to the public at the first opportunity without fear nor favor–something WIP might consider if it chooses to survive as a relevant community alternative publication.

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ROADKILL

snakewoman

Snake Woman

The way she sees it, men had always been oppressors of her kind. Snakewoman beguiled old men. Despite being in her prime, the young ones were too hard to catch. Early on, she’d welcomed the adoration that comes with being the youngest. It suited her still. She’d hit upon a successful strategy: depending on the kindness of strangers–especially older ones. Men were way stations in her odyssey for survival, more than a few. Life had not been exactly kind to her crossing the desert highway’s rough surface in the searing sun. She had young to feed; her battered body with its marred but still beautiful pale skin was not unexpected. It had been some time since her last meal had passed. Tantalizing, yet angry, depressed, petulant, resentful and suspicious, on the hunt–live game had grown scarce.

As a writer, he’d always loved nature with all its creatures, great and small. How could he resist helping this mesmerizing woman with her delicate features and pale beautiful skin lying there, vulnerable to passing traffic only inches away. Yes, there’d been some damage done, but he was certain he could heal the wounds and nurse her back to the healthy sultry female of her youth. He’d healed many creatures as part of his farm tasks…then she began to sing to him. She sang her song of flight among the stars and adventures to the bottom of the deepest oceans beneath their eternal inky twilight. She sang of hopes, dreams, ambitions, and despair, of old wounds and regrets. Slowly she undulated beneath his gaze, casting her spell as surely as any hook being set. “I’m so alone without any mate,” she cooed, “I’m a sucker for attention from a handsome erudite older man, and always have been.” He fell in love, or at least what he mistook for it.

Gently, he ushered her and her young into his vehicle, taking them wherever whimsy, fantasy, or need beckoned. He bathed her in the fresh water of a brook near his home. Having fed her, he gathered food to lay up against the winter and restore her strength. He arranged for her travel, massaged her body, spent hours building her strength and allaying her fears. He brought wings for her and her young to fly, no longer bound to the desert floor. He tucked her into his own bed and listened, spellbound, as she sang. Then, he fell into a deep sleep as though a man possessed.

With the dawn came new pearls and new needs including those most urgent for the care of her young. Each was generously tended to in turn, and she grew stronger–more confident, and her song reached higher among the surrounding mountains, the stars at night, the moon in its fullness, the wetness of her lips, her body, her scent. Intoxicated, he grew careless. Fear left him and caution was thrown to the wind as he drank deeper.

One evening, after a long day spent waiting for her to stir or notice him, he picked her up to hold in his arms when suddenly she bit him on the cheek. Stunned, as he lay dying, he moaned, “Why did you do that? I found you wounded and sick with grief, with unrequited love, with self doubt, with no food, with nowhere to feel safe or anyone to care. I nursed you back to health. I gave you meaning and sustenance for your life. I helped make you strong.”

“Look,” she said, “You knew I was a snake when you picked me up! Should I feel guilty? Perhaps I was selfish and used you. I’m sorry–I truly am. Besides, nothing bad ever happens to a writer–it’s all just more material. Quit struggling,” and gave him another bite to aid her digestion.

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An Ode to Heather & Her Muse

The Nightingale and the Rose

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‘She said that she would dance with me if I brought her red roses,’ cried the young Student; ‘but in all my garden there is no red rose.’

From her nest in the holm-oak tree the Nightingale heard him, and she looked out through the leaves, and wondered.

‘No red rose in all my garden!’ he cried, and his beautiful eyes filled with tears. ‘Ah, on what little things does happiness depend! I have read all that the wise men have written, and all the secrets of philosophy are mine, yet for want of a red rose is my life made wretched.’

‘Here at last is a true lover,’ said the Nightingale. ‘Night after night have I sung of him, though I knew him not: night after night have I told his story to the stars, and now I see him. His hair is dark as the hyacinth-blossom, and his lips are red as the rose of his desire; but passion has made his lace like pale Ivory, and sorrow has set her seal upon his brow.’

‘The Prince gives a ball to-morrow night,’ murmured the young Student, ‘and my love will be of the company. If I bring her a red rose she will dance with me till dawn. If I bring her a red rose, I shall hold her in my arms, and she will lean her head upon my shoulder, and her hand will be clasped in mine. But there is no red rose in my garden, so I shall sit lonely, and she will pass me by. She will have no heed of me, and my heart will break.’

‘Here indeed is the true lover,’ said the Nightingale. ‘What I sing of he suffers: what is joy to me, to him is pain. Surely Love is a wonderful thing. It is more precious than emeralds, and dearer than fine opals. Pearls and pomegranates cannot buy it, nor is it set forth in the market-place. it may not be purchased of the merchants, ‘or can it be weighed out in the balance for gold.’

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     ‘The musicians will sit in their gallery,’ said the young Student, ‘and play upon their stringed instruments, and my love will dance to the sound of the harp and the violin. She will dance so lightly that her feet will not touch the floor, and the courtiers in their gay dresses will throng round her. But with me she will not dance, for I have no red rose to give her;’ and he flung himself down on the grass, and buried his face in his hands, and wept.

‘Why is he weeping?’ asked a little Green Lizard, as he ran past him with his tail in the air.

‘Why, indeed?’ said a Butterfly, who was fluttering about after a sunbeam.

‘Why, indeed?’ whispered a Daisy to his neighbour, in a soft, low voice.

‘He is weeping for a red rose,’ said the Nightingale.

‘For a red rose!’ they cried; ‘how very ridiculous!’ and the little Lizard, who was something of a cynic, laughed outright.

But the Nightingale understood the secret of the Student’s sorrow, and she sat silent in the oak-tree, and thought about the mystery of Love.

Suddenly she spread her brown wings for flight, and soared into the air. She passed through the grove like a shadow, and like a shadow she sailed across the garden.

In the centre of the grass-plot was standing a beautiful Rose-tree, and when she saw it, she flew over to it, and lit upon a spray.

‘Give me a red rose,’ she cried, ‘and I will sing you my sweetest song.’

But the Tree shook its head.

‘My roses are white,’ it answered; ‘as white as the foam of the sea, and whiter than the snow upon the mountain. But go to my brother who grows round the old sun-dial, and perhaps he will give you what you want.’

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     So the Nightingale flew over to the Rose-tree that was growing round the old sun-dial.

‘Give me a red rose,’ she cried, ‘and I will sing you my sweetest song.’

But the Tree shook its head.

‘My roses are yellow,’ it answered; ‘as yellow as the hair of the mermaiden who sits upon an amber throne, and yellower than the daffodil that blooms in the meadow before the mower comes with his scythe. But go to my brother who grows beneath the Student’s window, and perhaps he will give you what you want.’

So the Nightingale flew over to the Rose-tree that was growing beneath the Student’s window.

‘Give me a red rose,’ she cried, ‘and I will sing you my sweetest song.’

But the Tree shook its head.

‘My roses are red,’ it answered, ‘as red as the feet of the dove, and redder than the great fans of coral that wave and wave in the ocean-cavern. But the winter has chilled my veins, and the frost has nipped my buds, and the storm has broken my branches, and I shall have no roses at all this year.’

‘One red rose is all I want,’ cried the Nightingale, ‘only one red rose! Is there no way by which I can get it?’

‘There is a way,’ answered the Tree; ‘but it is so terrible that I dare not tell it to you.’

‘Tell it to me,’ said the Nightingale, ‘I am not afraid.’

‘If you want a red rose,’ said the Tree, ‘you must build it out of music by moonlight, and stain it with your own heart’s-blood. You must sing to me with your breast against a thorn. All night long you must sing to me, and the thorn must pierce your heart, and your life-blood must flow into my veins, and become mine.’

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     ‘Death is a great price to pay for a red rose,’ cried the Nightingale, ‘and Life is very dear to all. It is pleasant to sit in the green wood, and to watch the Sun in his chariot of gold, and the Moon in her chariot of pearl. Sweet is the scent of the hawthorn, and sweet are the bluebells that hide in the valley, and the heather that blows on the hill. Yet Love is better than Life, and what is the heart of a bird compared to the heart of a man?’

So she spread her brown wings for flight, and soared into the air. She swept over the garden like a shadow, and like a shadow she sailed through the grove.

The young Student was still lying on the grass, where she had left him, and the tears were not yet dry in his beautiful eyes.

‘Be happy,’ cried the Nightingale, ‘be happy; you shall have your red rose. I will build it out of music by moonlight, and stain it with my own heart’s-blood. All that I ask of you in return is that you will be a true lover, for Love is wiser than Philosophy, though she is wise, and mightier than Power, though he is mighty. Flame-coloured are his wings, and coloured like flame is his body. His lips are sweet as honey, and his breath is like frankincense.’

The Student looked up from the grass, and listened, but he could not understand what the Nightingale was saying to him, for he only knew the things that are written down in books.

But the Oak-tree understood, and felt sad, for he was very fond of the little Nightingale who had built her nest in his branches.

‘Sing me one last song,’ he whispered; ‘I shall feel very lonely when you are gone.’

So the Nightingale sang to the Oak-tree, and her voice was like water bubbling from a silver jar.

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     When she had finished her song the Student got lip, and pulled a note-book and a lead-pencil out of his pocket.

‘She has form,’ he said to himself, as he walked away through the grove – ‘that cannot be denied to her; but has she got feeling? I am afraid not. In fact, she is like most artists; she is all style, without any sincerity. She would not sacrifice herself for others. She thinks merely of music, and everybody knows that the arts are selfish. Still, it must be admitted that she has some beautiful notes in her voice. What a pity it is that they do not mean anything, or do any practical good.’ And he went into his room, and lay down on his little pallet-bed, and began to think of his love; and, after a time, he fell asleep.

And when the Moon shone in the heavens the Nightingale flew to the Rose-tree, and set her breast against the thorn. All night long she sang with her breast against the thorn, and the cold crystal Moon leaned down and listened. All night long she sang, and the thorn went deeper and deeper into her breast, and her life-blood ebbed away from her.

She sang first of the birth of love in the heart of a boy and a girl. And on the topmost spray of the Rose-tree there blossomed a marvellous rose, petal following petal, as song followed song. Yale was it, at first, as the mist that hangs over the river – pale as the feet of the morning, and silver as the wings of the dawn. As the shadow of a rose in a mirror of silver, as the shadow of a rose in a water-pool, so was the rose that blossomed on the topmost spray of the Tree.

But the Tree cried to the Nightingale to press closer against the thorn. ‘Press closer, little Nightingale,’ cried the Tree, ‘or the Day will come before the rose is finished.’

So the Nightingale pressed closer against the thorn, and louder and louder grew her song, for she sang of the birth of passion in the soul of a man and a maid.

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     And a delicate flush of pink came into the leaves of the rose, like the flush in the face of the bridegroom when he kisses the lips of the bride. But the thorn had not yet reached her heart, so the rose’s heart remained white, for only a Nightingale’s heart’s-blood can crimson the heart of a rose.

And the Tree cried to the Nightingale to press closer against the thorn. ‘Press closer, little Nightingale,’ cried the Tree, ‘or the Day will come before the rose is finished.’

So the Nightingale pressed closer against the thorn, and the thorn touched her heart, and a fierce pang of pain shot through her. Bitter, bitter was the pain, and wilder and wilder grew her song, for she sang of the Love that is perfected by Death, of the Love that dies not in the tomb.

And the marvellous rose became crimson, like the rose of the eastern sky. Crimson was the girdle of petals, and crimson as a ruby was the heart.

But the Nightingale’s voice grew fainter, and her little wings began to beat, and a film came over her eyes. Fainter and fainter grew her song, and she felt something choking her in her throat.

Then she gave one last burst of music. The white Moon heard it, and she forgot the dawn, and lingered on in the sky. The red rose heard it, and it trembled all over with ecstasy, and opened its petals to the cold morning air. Echo bore it to her purple cavern in the hills, and woke the sleeping shepherds from their dreams. It floated through the reeds of the river, and they carried its message to the sea.

‘Look, look!’ cried the Tree, ‘the rose is finished now;’ but the Nightingale made no answer, for she was lying dead in the long grass, with the thorn in her heart.

And at noon the Student opened his window and looked out.

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     ‘Why, what a wonderful piece of luck! he cried; ‘here is a red rose! I have never seen any rose like it in all my life. It is so beautiful that I am sure it has a long Latin name;’ and he leaned down and plucked it.

Then he put on his hat, and ran up to the Professor’s house with the rose in his hand.

The daughter of the Professor was sitting in the doorway winding blue silk on a reel, and her little dog was lying at her feet.

‘You said that you would dance with me if I brought you a red rose,’ cried the Student. Here is the reddest rose in all the world. You will wear it to-night next your heart, and as we dance together it will tell you how I love you.’

But the girl frowned.

‘I am afraid it will not go with my dress,’ she answered; ‘and, besides, the Chamberlain’s nephew has sent me some real jewels, and everybody knows that jewels cost far more than flowers.’

‘Well, upon my word, you are very ungrateful,’ said the Student angrily; and he threw the rose into the street, where it fell into the gutter, and a cart-wheel went over it.

‘Ungrateful!’ said the girl. ‘I tell you what, you are very rude; and, after all, who are you? Only a Student. Why, I don’t believe you have even got silver buckles to your shoes as the Chamberlain’s nephew has;’ and she got up from her chair and went into the house.

‘What a silly thing Love is,’ said the Student as he walked away. ‘It is not half as useful as Logic, for it does not prove anything, and it is always telling one of things that are not going to happen, and making one believe things that are not true. In fact, it is quite unpractical, and, as in this age to be practical is everything, I shall go back to Philosophy and study Metaphysics.’

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     So he returned to his room and pulled out a great dusty book, and began to read.

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Olympic Ballroom’s Hot New Orleans Jazz 9-7-14

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Andy Hall, Jessica Blinn, Cal Neal, C Davis, Joe Baque, Paul Woltz

Olympia, WA – Toweringinfernoorchestra Jazz Xi’s C Davis New Orleans Quartet thrilled Sunday night swing dancers in this august venue across from Sylvester Park and above the Urban Onion.

Jessica (vocals and violin), ‘C’ (trumpet), Paul Woltz (bass sax, clarinet, et ux

Towering Inferno Orchestra plays 1920’s and 1930’s hot Harlem jazz orchestra music.

They also have a smaller band within the band that plays New Orleans Hot Jazz.

They have sound and videos on youtube.com:

www.youtube.com/user/ToweringInfernoOrch

and reverbnation.com

http://www.reverbnation.com/toweringInfernoOrchestra

They are available for all kinds of events, from weddings to funerals to corporate parties and everything in between.

Monty Norris is the guy who hired The Quartet and runs the weekly Sunday Night Swing at the Olympic Ballroom where the gods and godesses dance the night away for a fraction of the cover charge prevalent in the Seattle area.

Jessica Blinn (vocals, violin) appeared w/the venerable Joe Baque on Piano, Paul Woltz (with his Big Bass saxophone & clarinet),. Andy Hall (trombone), Cal Neal playing his 1926 vintage drum set, and C Davis on trumpet w/his chewy brass riffs.

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Fresh Start Hosts Urban Folk Review 9-6-14

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Shelton, WA. – Fresh Start Market Deli @ 2810 E Spencer Lake Rd, Shelton, WA 98584, (360) 462-4620 provides a musical venue every Saturday evening beginning at 6:00 pm with open mic every other week.

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Pizzas, drinks, and good cheer await here

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Dill, chives, oregano for the palate & soul

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Comfrey, squash run amok

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Then maybe on to oregano to gather your hops

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Thyme for home grown tomatoes

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Cook’s Garden

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Rhubarb to cleanse the palate and nourish the soul

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Rosemary

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Parsley

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Mint–lemon balm?

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Lavender

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Last week they hosted Urban Folk Review which consisted of Ron Nelson and Kathy Jonas from Mason County accompanied by Heather Wood from Olympia.

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All three singers accompanied their solos with guitar plus Ron was handy with his harmonica as he emulated Bob Dylan’s style and music. All had great voices which weren’t done justice by the inferior sound system and mics. If the video you hear sounds like it was done from the next room, that’s why. The venue was intimate and the room was small with no stage. Some of the patrons sat outside on this balmy night where speakers relayed the performance to the patio.

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Most of the performance consisted of solos with a few harmony pieces thrown together. Ron’s voice had a rich resonance, Kathy’s had an incredible range, and Heather belted out one number that showcased her verve and spontaneity in interpreting musical phrasing. Adeline, a 7-year old girl, takes the stage at one point to sing an impromptu number she composed on the spot. Adeline displayed no stage nervousness, having been exposed to it through her mother (Heather) as a professional musician since birth.

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Budding Diva

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The audience joined in for all the traditional folk tunes familiar to them. A good time was had by everyone and the venue is to be recommended each Saturday evening for those who can make it. The pizzas were good, the atmosphere pleasant. There was no cover charge.

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Reach Out @ Oly’s Artesian Well, Friday 8-22-14 @ 12:00 noon

Olympia, WA (Artesian Well, 4th Ave & Jefferson St, Olympia, WA 98501) – 

When:   Friday, 8-22-14 @ 12:00 pm – 2:00 pm
Where: Olympia’s Artesian Well, 4th Ave & Jefferson St, Oly, WA

There’s a lot of talk these days about how to help downtown. There’s also a lot of action, but it’s an unsung story. 

With this in mind, over a dozen nonprofit organizations and community projects are banding together for “Reach Out at the Well,” a street outreach and volunteer recruitment fair. 

It’s a chance to chat with folks doing the work, learn about available resources for coping with homelessness, illness, violence or job loss, and find out how you can make a difference in the community through street outreach work.

Participating organizations include Community Youth Services, POWER (Parents Organizing for Welfare and Economic Rights), SideWalk, Thurston County Food Bank, Partners in Prevention Education, Stonewall Youth, the Olympia Free Clinic and others. The Olympia Downtown Ambassadors will also be present.

The public can expect to find resources and volunteer opportunities for housing and shelter, youth services, back to school information, free food options, free health services, low-income pet care and more. Some tables will give away snacks and sandwiches; others will offer free on-site counseling, advocacy, and pet food to those in need.

Participating organizations include: 

• Community Youth Services 
• Rosie’s Place
• POWER (Parents Organizing for Welfare and Economic Rights
• SideWalk 
• Thurston County Food Bank
• PiPE (Partners in Prevention Education)
• Stonewall Youth- Olympia, Washington
• The Olympia Free Clinic
• Thurston County Needle Exchange 
• PB&J Project
• Family Support Center
• Covenant Creatures
• The Crisis Clinic of Thurston and Mason Counties
• Youth ‘N Action
• Olympia Downtown Ambassadors

…and maybe the Emma Goldman Youth and Homeless Outreach Project(better known as EGYHOP)

Organizers will also serve lemonade made with Artesian Well water. See you there!

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Urban Folk Review in Costume @ Spencer Lake 9-6-14

Urban Folk Review

Shelton, WA – This event is being hosted by Fresh Start Market & Deli of  2810 E Spencer Lake Rd, Shelton, Washington 98584. Tel. (360)462-4620 on Saturday, September 6 @ 6:00 p.m.

Four artists will sing and play favorite folk music. Come in Costume. Who will you be?

Joni Mitchell, Bob Dylan, Peter, Paul & Mary stuff–all your Americana favorites. Come help raise the roof and have a hoot ‘n nanny good time. All your friends will be there.

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NYC Photojournalist Takes On Police Corruption/Abuse

Shawn Randall Thomas2

by Carlos Miller of PINAC

For ten years now, Shawn Randall Thomas has been fighting for the right to record  on the streets of New York City, landing him in jail six times and in handcuffs many more times without a single conviction to show for it.

Today, he is back in court for his latest arrest, a case that should have been dismissed back in February and should have resulted in the firing of NYPD officer Efrain Rojas after the video went viral showing the cop bullying and assaulting Thomas for recording an arrest from more than 30 feet away in a subway station.

And Wednesday, Thomas is back in court again over another arrest from last October where he was accused of recording inside a courtroom, which he never did, so they charged him with disorderly conduct, accusing him of using profanity, which he never did, seizing his phone and demanding he provide them with his passcode, which he never did.

That arrest, which he describes in great detail on his blog,  took place outside a courtroom within minutes after a judge dismissed a case against him from a June 2013 arrest where he was video recording outside an NYPD police station in an attempt to identify the cops who had arrested in January of that year for recording them making an aggressive arrest, which he also goes into detail on that same blog post, especially about a dirty cop named  Sgt. Mohammed Karimzada.

And he only resorted to recording the police station (video below) after the district attorney’s office continually refused to provide the names of the arresting officers during the discovery process, even though they falsely accused him of possessing a stun gun, which is illegal in New York City,  not that they were ever able to produce said weapon.

It was New York State court officers who arrested him outside the courtroom October 25, incidentally 24 hours after he filed a complaint against them with the Inspector General for arresting him on a prior occasion where he was handing out cards from a public sidewalk outside the courthouse, informing citizens of their right to record police.

All those arrests took place after the FBI arrested him on two separate occasions for photographing federal buildings in 2006 and in 2009, before the Department of Homeland Security was forced to acknowledge in a 2010 settlement there was no law against photographing federal buildings. He reached out to me after the second federal arrest, which Iwrote about here. 

Thomas was also awarded a $3,500 settlement around that time after NYPD cops ordered him out of a subway station because he had photographed a checkpoint they had set up where they were requiring commuters to open their bags upon entry.

It’s been a non-stop battle for him since 2004 when he was ordered by Secret Service to delete a photo of the back of a building being used by federal agents during the Republican National Convention.

“I didn’t know my rights as a photographer back then,” said the 48-year-old Brooklyn resident.

But he didn’t waste any time in learning his rights, reaching out to the ACLU since the civil rights organization had set up field offices around New York City during the convention, which nevertheless, has so far resulted in more than two million dollar in settlements with many more to go.

Once he learned the law was on his side, at least on paper, he started waging a one-man war against city, state and federal authorities over his right to record in public during the post-911 hysteria that had overtaken New York City in the years since the 2001 terrorist attacks.

His videos show he is not one to back down. A street smart, camera-wielding New Yorker with knowledge, not intimidated by street talking, gun-wielding New Yorkers with badges. A calculating man not afraid to roll with the punches as he learns how to beat the system at its own game.

So he is taking this week in stride, secure that his video and pro se arguments will help him prevail in each case respectively, wondering if Rojas will even have the gall to show up.

But it is also clear he has become a marked man, a thorn in the side of the system; a system not used to losing; doing all it can to smother his rights and freedom in order to send a message that public accountability from citizens will not be tolerated.

So perhaps we can give King County District Attorney Kenneth Thompson’s office a call at (718) 250-2600 or (718) 250-2000. Ask for Assistant District Attorney Charles Guria, who is assigned to his case.

Thomas, who was billed more than $1,000 for an ambulance ride from the jail to the hospital for injuries sustained from the arrest, stated the following on his Facebook page last week.

As I understand it, the Kings County District Attorney (Kenneth Thompson) is very much aware of the video, and the ADA assigned to this case, as I understand it, really does not know what the District Attorney’s Office is going to do, he is awaiting instruction from “his supervisor”.

To me, this speaks volumes about the integrity of the Kings County District Attorney’s Office and the D.A. himself (Kenneth Thompson). Here they have a case given to them by a cop (Officer Rojas) who they certainly know is a corrupt cop; a persecution where they factually know that the accused committed no offense. Yet they will not refuse to prosecute. Instead opting to have me placed in jeopardy while they seek political solutions, my guess is that they are searching for an out for Officer Rojas.

In the past a N.Y.P.D. Officer, Michael Ackerman, was indicted for doing pretty much the same thing Officer Rojas did in this case. The difference being that the photographer, Robert Stolarik, was working for The New York Times and is not a Black Male. Also, the Ackerman crime took place in Bronx County where the District Attorney’s Office has been known to openly frown upon Police Misconduct, as opposed to here in Kings County where, generally speaking, a Police Officer can do no wrong. Perhaps the newly elected Kings County District Attorney could benefit from some mentoring from the veteran Bronx County District Attorney.

Whatever the situation, I refuse to give up or give in. As far as I’m concerned, a declaration of war has been made and I’ve accepted it.

It was only this January that Thomas reached out to the newly inaugurated district attorney on his blog, asking for accountability.

Hello Mr. Thompson, My name is Shawn Randall Thomas. Congratulations on your winning the Office of District Attorney.

I’m a 47 year old “African-American” male, and one of the formerly convicted. I was born and raised in the Fort Greene housing project, literally, although my parents were not living there at the time of my birth, I was born in Cumberland Hospital, which is actually within the confines of that Housing Project. We moved into the project, our first time in public housing, when I was about 4 years old.

I’m the full time parent of two girls, a 6 year old and a 1 year old. I say full time because the conventional roles of mother and father in my household are reversed, and it was that way from day one. Often people see me with my children and kind of marvel as if they are witnessing a dad during visitation, not knowing that it’s actually the norm for me.

For employment, I’ve earned my dime as a Photographer for much of the past 12 years. Most of my work being at night, at home, and the occasional weekend wedding. However, I don’t shoot professionally as much as I use to. I’ve taken up a new career, thanks in large part to Law Enforcement Officials with Integrity issues. It’s a little dangerous, time consuming, with very little pay if at all, but I’m more committed to this job than I am to my own safety.

They say that when you push to hard or to often, you get pushed back. Well I got pushed to hard and way to often, meeting my breaking point on January 4th, 2013 when some cops falsely arrested me, filed false charges against me, planted a weapon on me, stole a camera from me, and deleted video from my cell phone. Then threatened to take my children and place them in the care of the State. All because I video recorded a cop abusing a black woman with a small child, without legal justification.

It was then that they picked my new career for me. It was not the first time “The Law” violated me, but it would be the first time that I would not accept it, and go after them.

I’m writing to you, not simply to welcome you to office, or to tell you my life story, but to inform you that this is going to be a tough year for you. I intend to see dirty law enforcement officers charged with crimes when there’s sufficient evidence to support the charges. And I intend on redirecting the public anger against the Police Department for abusive cops, onto the District Attorney’s Office for its wrongful use of discretion in declining to charge law officers where there’s evidence to support the charges.

He is scheduled around 10 a.m. at the following address:

Kings County Criminal Court
120 Schermerhorn Street
Brooklyn

New York media. It would be great if you can cover this. Thanks!

UPDATE: NYPD officer Efrain Rojas did not show up to court today, but that doesn’t mean the Kings County District Attorney’s Office will let it go.

No, they informed Thomas that they will continue to pursue charges of obstructing, disorderly conduct, trespassing and resisting arrest.

Now his trial is scheduled for June 17.

He also found that the department’s Internal Affairs Bureau is not even investigating a case against Rojas as initially assured because they say they don’t investigate “discourtesy” from officers.

In other words, the fact that Rojas allowed himself to be distracted from an investigation to harass Thomas for recording him from 30 feet away, assaulting, handcuffing and arresting him on false charges where he spent 24 hours in jail – not to mention a few hours in the hospital from injuries sustained – during the time in which Rojas no doubt deleted Thomas’s footage , then wrote up on the following report proven false by the recovered video, is simply a result of a cop having a bad day.

He will not be investigated. He will not be disciplined. And he will not be fired.

So much for Commissioner Bill Bratton’s new-and-improved NYPD.

Rojas statement

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Bee’ing Compassionate: 1 Olympian Strives for Bee Happiness

evergreen bee sanctuary

Local bee activist, Heather Wood, recently created the non-profit business Urban Evergreen Bee Sanctuary to manufacture and distribute beehives locally.

by Tali Haller

Exuding passion and enthusiasm, local activist Heather Wood is buzzing about her newly-created non-profit business, the Urban Evergreen Bee Sanctuary. The organization builds hives that maximize bee happiness and then distributes them (at low cost) to community members. “We’re essentially facilitating people’s ability to interact with, shelter, and give love to bees,” explained Wood. Their mission? To get hives to anyone who wants one, regardless of income. Their goal? To distribute at least 1,000 hives in the next few years.

Obtaining a hive is simple: call and order. There is minimal maintenance. (“The bees know how to feed themselves,” as Wood says.) Although actual bees aren’t part of the order, the organization can help you obtain a wild swarm. If you order now, you can expect a hive by spring, right in time for bee season, which is typically April to August.

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he Urban Evergreen Bee Sanctuary stresses doing what’s good for the bees, not what’s easy or profitable.

The cost of a bee hive varies.  However, Wood stresses that anyone who wants one will get one regardless of financial challenges. She’s found that $350 covers the total cost. But because that is too steep for some, she is asking for extra donations from people who can afford it. This brings joy to my heart. It’s great to see an organization that genuinely cares about the cause they’re serving. As I see it, they’re willing to find ways to leverage the financial aspect for the intangible gains of bee longevity.

“It’s not about the money or the honey,” said Wood. “It’s about providing shelter for the bees and learning from them. They’ve been here for millions of years and they provide valuable ecological services.” In fact, the economic value of bees’ pollination services are worth millions in low estimates and billions in high estimates. Clearly, they are worth protection.

Yes, it’s not about the honey. But beekeepers can still reap the benefits. According to Wood, someone could potentially get up to 50 pounds of honey. “Peopleneed to leave the honey for bees to have during the winter and take it in the spring,” she stresses. “That is really important. It’s one of the main things that separates natural beekeeping, what we’re doing, from conventional beekeeping.”

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Volunteers Katherine Kirchoff and Katie Schneberg construct a beehive together.

But what is the Urban Evergreen Bee Sanctuary doing differently? “We’re building hives that are completely different in structure than conventional bee hives,” said Wood.

The group’s hives are horizontal boxes with floating top bars, meaning they can be spaced appropriately (the honey comb is narrower at the front, and wider at the back). There are also windows in the side, so that you can have a peek at how the hive is doing without causing any disruption to the bees. In conventional beekeeping, you generally have to take apart the hive to look inside and see what’s going on. The design comes from Corwin Bell, founder of Backyard Hive in Eldorado Springs, Colorado. He calls it the “Golden Mean Hive.” If interested, you can purchase designs directly from him for $10 and make a hive on your own.

But the differences between Wood’s version of natural beekeeping and conventional beekeeping go beyond structure. There are also differences in treatment. According to Wood, in conventional beekeeping, bees are transported around to different farms, where they’re released to pollinate thousands of the same flower or crop. However, both the transportation and the limited variety of crop are bad for the bees, who are used to living in the same place for hundreds of years as a colony and having access to all types of flowers.

Conventional beekeeping also tries to keep bees from swarming (which is when a body of honeybees emigrates from a hive and flies off together, accompanied by a queen, to start a new colony). “But swarming is a natural and necessary process,” said Wood. “Conventional beekeepers stop swarming because they want to protect their investment. They don’t want their bees to get away,” Wood explained. “However, we need to let them swarm so that bees can stay genetically diverse and spread out.”

Wood wants to honor their timing and respect the “hive mentality.” “The colony is really like a body, each individual forgetting itself for the survival of the hive. They will literally feed each other before they feed themselves,” she said.

Although bee season is relatively short (under 5 months), there is no offseason for the workers. Year-round they will be making beehives. “We’re still working out all the kinks so we need as much help from the community as we can get,” said Wood.

Already, community donations, volunteerism, and interest is huge. Olympic Glass, located on the east side of Olympia, has agreed to give the Urban Evergreen Bee Sanctuary an incredible discount on 1,000 plexiglass windows for the bee hives. The Urban Evergreen Bee Sanctuary has also received a small grant from the Thurston County Community Sustaining Fund, which was the money that initially got them started.

“This project has been such a loving experience so far. Everywhere we turn people want to help,” Wood said with gratitude. However, to stay running, they need the community’s continued support.

“We would love more volunteers! They can make donations in money, time, or tools (we need everything from drills to screws, but we’re especially in need of bigger tools, such as routing tables). What’s more, volunteers with all sorts of skills are welcome – writers can craft grants, builders and people wanting to work with their hands can build hives, artists can create advertisements and help raise awareness.

If you’re interested in helping out or learning more, check out the Urban Evergreen Bee Sanctuary Facebook page, their website, or call up Heather Wood at 360. 551.0674.

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